Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. USA, 1991. Orion Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Scott Rudin Productions. Screenplay by Caroline Thompson, Larry Wilson, based on characters created by Charles Addams. Cinematography by Owen Roizman. Produced by Scott Rudin. Music by Marc Shaiman. Production Design by Richard Macdonald. Costume Design by Ruth Myers. Film Editing by Dede Allen, Jim Miller. Academy Awards 1991. Golden Globe Awards 1991.
Of the many retro television shows that have made it to the big screen, this comedy and its superior sequel are among the very best (only the Brady Bunch movies spring immediately to mind as worthy rivals). Impeccably cast, it stars Raul Julia and Anjelica Huston as Gomez and Morticia Addams, heads of a ghoulishly kooky family. The Addams’ crooked lawyer (Dan Hedaya) is convinced by his tough loan shark (Elizabeth Wilson) to rob the family estate in order to pay back his debts to them. The plan is to get Wilson’s son (Christopher Lloyd) into the household posing as the missing Uncle Fester, an easy task considering he is a dead ringer. Not so easy a task, however, when Lloyd moves in and discovers how frightening this family truly is! Huston is divine as Morticia, a kindly, loving mother in a black funeral shroud who makes sure that when her children are playing with knives, they use the biggest possible knives. Christina Ricci shines as the deadpan daughter Wednesday, and Dana Ivey is hilarious as Hedaya’s frustrated wife. The plot is stringy and weak, but it is highlighted by some very funny pranks and jokes that make for a fun viewing if not an actual film experience. The costumes and production design are excellent.